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Hailing from California, Cattle Decapitation are an adamantly pro-animal-rights death/grind band who have been steadily releasing material for the past decade. This spring, they released their fifth full-length, Monolith of Inhumanity.
After years spent building a cult following of vegans and environmentalists, Cattle Decapitation may have just broken through with one of the defining masterpieces of grind. In comparison with their rough previous works, this album is mature, diverse, and perfectly willing to take its time crafting atmosphere. The musicianship is razor sharp on all fronts. The guitar blasts out crunchy riffs psychotically when it has to, but it can also produce sparkling solos and mellow, gloomy passages. The drums are as fast and ferocious as anyone could ask for, providing a relentless energy which drives the record forward. The distorted bass goes wild just beneath the blistering guitar assault, fleshing out the sound perfectly. The vocals range from angry shouts and shrieks to demonic roars with equally stellar effect, and some eerie spoken portions crop up as well. Also, strewn throughout the record are these extremely gritty but not quite growled singing sections which present an unusual sound in a grind release and which really round out the gruesome vocal excellence on display.
What strikes me most about this album is that even though the band slows down in places and provides more distinction, progressive instrumentation, and atmosphere than the vast majority of grind or death/grind records out there, the end product is still unbelievably savage. The quiet passages and the shifts to slower tempos highlight the brutal ferocity of the rest of the record, giving you the same gut-wrenching anticipation as the long ascent at the beginning of a massive roller coaster. And like the coaster, there's a still moment at the top where you can feel yourself cresting the peak, then the wild rush of excitement as you careen downward into chaos.
I really can't recommend this album highly enough, which is saying something since I'm not the biggest grind fan in the world, and I've honestly always found this band slightly annoying in the past. But this is, put simply, the best death/grind album I've ever heard. If you have even a passing interest in death/grind, get this album. It may well go down as the new high-water mark in that style.
(Originally posted on beardsetc.blogspot.com)